APCC Officials & NLOs of Member Countries
Profiles of APCC Member Countries

“Learning from the Leaders in the Coconut Sector for a Better Future”

("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 45, Series No. 9, 1 September 2015)

APCC had the privilege of participating at the 29th National Coconut Week Celebration and the 2nd International Coconut Festival held in the Philippines 27-30 August 2015. The week consisted of the Coconut Trade Fair and Exhibits, technology seminars and a day set aside for the FAO/PCA funded Symposium on Integrated Pest Management focusing on Coconut Scale Insect. During that week I observed on local TV news of Secretary Pangilinan presenting at Congress Budget Committee hearing on the importance of assistance for coconut farmers, flanked by PCA Administrator Arancon, Jr. and senior officials of the Ministry for Food Security & Agriculture Modernisation. The level of commitment and fervent support for the farmers was very evident. As the coconut week unfolded it was clear that the interest of the farmers and improvement of benefits to them was paramount as agreements to establish the first six ‘Coconut Hubs’ for farmers in coconut regions were signed. The hubs are created to promote value addition initiatives amongst other activities in the coconut sector at farm level. The importance of viability for over 4 million households is reflected in the fully integrated development programs currently under implementation by PCA.

During last APCC visit in India with Shri T K Jose, IAS, Chairman of Coconut Development Board (CDB) of India, we observed with interest the level of diligence and commitment by CDB to improve the economy for 12 million families that are dependent on the coconut sector. There is now an unprecedented effort by CDB to make Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) successful hence making India the leading APCC member country in mobilizing coconut farmers through cooperative arrangements with a clear mandate to improving the socio-economic wellbeing of its members. It was also evident that attending to farmer enquiries and concerns would take precedence over other organisation matters. This exemplary leadership of the sector is reflected in the overall chain of command in CDB down to field officers working amongst farming communities in provinces. Development programs set out in the Indian coconut sector from accessing planting material to value addition initiatives clearly demonstrates the long term commitment to improving the lives of coconut farmers in India.

It is important to understand that the present market for coconut products is demand driven. The coconut supply chain in India is what FPO’s and eager entrepreneurs would need to study well to identify opportunities for income generation and even more so in the Philippines with the highest number of non-traditional products of coconut with its value addition drive to make the industry increasingly viable. In most cases the private sector players have become increasingly valuable partners considering the level of innovation and advancements in technology including the product diversification initiatives to maximise the full economic potential of the coconut industry.

The examples set by the two leading coconut nations within APCC member countries is worth observing to eagerly pursue and possibly adopt the proven methods where practicable to enhance sustainable development of the coconut sector across respective coconut growing communities.

The challenge for stakeholders of each country’s coconut sector is to not only demonstrate viability and long-term sustainability in coconut cropping but to also ensure its positive impact and contribution to a nation’s economy.

As the coconut communities worldwide celebrate together 2nd September World Coconut Day we are reminded of Gandhi’s famous words in 1939 on coconut (nectar) that “It is a way to solve the world's poverty. It is also an antidote against misery.” We must therefore continue to plant coconuts at every opportunity

For Comments/Sugestions/Feedback just click this: apcc@indo.net.id